Noga read English Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has translated several science fiction novels. She moved to Montreal, where she acquired a diploma in French-English translation, then a Master's in the Ethics of Translation. The research for her thesis provoked a singularly persistent interest in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice and particularly in Shylock's identity which is much more complex and esoteric than generally supposed. Recently she withdrew from a PhD programme in which she'd intended to explore the subject. These days Noga translates French articles the politics of which she disagrees with, and leads discussions in a non-traditional academic institute. She blogs at The Contentious Centrist.
Why do you blog? > I like to ventilate my opinions and I do that better in writing.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Getting an invitation from Norm to do this profile.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Martha Nussbaum, Hannah Arendt, George Orwell.
What are you reading at the moment? > Fiction: Ra'ash (Noise), a collection of novellas and short stories by Aharon Lakish, an Israeli author with a strange, superb sense of humour and eccentric story lines. Non-fiction: Martin Amis, The War Against Cliché.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > All of Jane Austen's novels with one stipulation: Jane Eyre remains the best romance I have ever read.
What is your favourite poem? > 'La soleá' by Federico Garcia Lorca. Here are two lines: 'piensa que el mundo es chiquito/y el corazón es inmenso.'
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I realized that the 'self-hating Jew' phenomenon is another evil fruit of millennial anti-Semitism and needs to be seen within the context of compassion, not contempt.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Kumbaya does not work; rights begin where love ends.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Moral relativism.
Can you name a work of non-fiction, which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Martha Nussbaum's The Fragility of Goodness and Arendt's On Revolution. Both writings illuminated for me the difference between pity and compassion, especially the dangers inherent within the first.
Who are your political heroes? > Maybe Disraeli. I always found him intriguing, a talented outsider with an interesting, multi-layered identity.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > I'd like to see the 'notwithstanding clause', which allows Quebec to disobey Canada's constitution, repealed.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > I still hope that Michael Ignatieff will be able to translate his intellectual wisdom and integrity into principled political leadership. So far he has not managed it.
What would you do with the UN? > Redefine its role as an organization that fights hunger and disease in the world. No more, no less
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > The socio-pathology otherwise known as Islamofascism.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Don't be a jerk.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > I could. I am.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Keeping one's word.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Hypocrisy.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > When talking to other people about their children.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Like everyone else, I have all kinds of prejudices in varying degrees, which I am fully aware of and try to prevent from congealing into bigotries. For example, that militant feminists are uninteresting.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > My children, all the time.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I would study Law instead of English Literature.
What would you call your autobiography? > Days of Future Past.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > Jennifer Lopez.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Northern California, where they grow vines and make wine. Or Seattle.
What would your ideal holiday be? > I heard there is a hotel in Newport, Oregon, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean and in which the rooms are named after, and decorated to fit, great authors. I'd like to sleep in Jane Austen's room, take daily long walks on the beach and get to talk to like-minded guests over steaming lattes in the lounge.
What talent would you most like to have? > To be able to dance the Argentinean tango and/or to be handy with tools, install shelves, and build bookcases - that sort of thing.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Human rights lawyer.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Jerry Seinfeld.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > I have an insane desire to be fluent in Spanish.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I need someone to help keep my home clean and in order. But I can't hire someone to do the work because I think I ought to do it all myself. It's a result of growing up in Israel where the socialist ethos frowned upon having someone help with housekeeping. But I might feel differently if I could hire someone to do the work and pay them the same salary that an average engineer makes in a hi-tech company.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]